As a traveller, I always begin my journeys with a guidebook in my pocket, but have also always said to myself that by complying to these guidebooks I am only proliferating the innacuracy with which Rome – or any other city for that matter – is portrayed. As Rome is saturated with history, what these books have to say about the Collosseum, Pantheon, etc. is quite essential. However, there are places that are never mentioned, which leads newcomers to miss out on several extremely flavoursome parts of the city.
Let’s start early in the morning. Breakfast in Rome usually consists of a cornetto (croissant) and cappuccino. “Cioccolata Calda” or hot chocolate must be had as well. One can stop at most bars and be served well as most places are accustomed to (and therefore excellent at) making these basics.
Let us first get the Collosseum, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and The Roman Forum out of the way. All five are wonderful locations, but the first four do not require more than about an hour’s visit. That is unless, of course, one wants to go inside the Collosseum which is something that I have thought quite overrated and definitely not worth the wait in line during the high seasons. Something that is not often mentioned about the Spanish Steps is the Keats & Shelley house/museum right next to them. This is worth a visit and won’t take up much time. Apart from the Roman Forum, which one should set aside a half of a day for, these four locations require about an hour each and are best visited during the day – perhaps between breakfast and lunch.
Making a decision as to where to eat in Rome can get quite tough. There are three different types of eateries: osterie, trattorie and ristoranti. Osterie are cosy, family-run places which are usually the tastiest and most inexpensive but have a minimal choice of food. Trattorie are still quite homely, usually a little more expensive and a larger choice of food. Ristoranti are not that different from trattorie but tend to be the most expensive, largest choice in food and are highest ranked in glamour or luxury.
If you are walking around in the center just slip into a little alley near the Pantheon and you will find fantastic Italian osterie and trattorie. For a more eclectic choice, you may want to go to via Cavour where you will find restaurants from all around the world.
The best place to eat, however, is the Trastevere area which is across the river from the center Rome. Go to Santa Maria in Trastevere,